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INSIGHT – Bahamas travel advisory: Zero violent crimes against visitors in 2024

By ED FIELDS

AS we have learned over the many years, the US State Department is required by law to report on anything that may affect Americans travelling to other countries.

This legal requirement does not require context and the State Department’s reporting has no obligation to be concerned about the impact on tourism in The Bahamas. That responsibility rests on The Bahamas. Regretfully we tend to repeat the narrative, by amplifying the stridency of the State Department’s advisories. In other words, the travel advisory is not concerned about upsetting people or local economies. It is focused on warning the citizens of the United States, such that, people take the warning seriously enough to make decisions that are in their best interest.

This is where the interests of the State Department and The Bahamas diverge.

Admittedly, we have a very real problem. It is literally a “domestic violence” problem and like all domestic violence issues, the real impact is the Bahamian “family”. It is a problem, that demonstrates our failure as a country to provide an environment for its citizens to be reared, nurtured, educated and economically engaged so that violence is not the result of frustration, disenfranchisement, emasculation and economic degradation. But this is another discussion for another day.

So, with that said, it is left to us to tell the world the facts.

Fact: in 2024, there have been 18 murders of Bahamians in the Bahamas. ZERO VISITORS. The advisory went on to warn visitors that they should co-operate if they are faced with an armed robbery. However, the advisory failed to advise that no visitors to The Bahamas have reported armed robberies. Given that ZERO visitors were victims of armed robbery in The Bahamas in 2024, this would be forwarded more as common-sense advice than a warning. Advice that all nine billion residents of planet earth might wish to take. Though unconfirmed, to date, no sexual assaults on visitors have been reported in 2024.

In order to head off any counter based on my limited focus on the 29 days in 2024, note this is the period the advisory alluded to with respect to the number of murders. These murders are not random and have not occurred in touristic areas.

By contrast, the US has had 25 mass killings this year, so far, the second highest on record for January. The record thus far is in 2023, when here were almost two mass shooting per day.

We recognise the per capita thing. Per capita, there is ZERO chance in getting killed in a random mass shooting in The Bahamas. There are no mass shootings. Per capita, there is close to a ZERO chance of being murdered if you are visitor to The Bahamas. If you are a visitor going to the United States, there is a greater than ZERO chance of being killed by a disgruntled citizen with a semi-automatic weapon.

We wish to emphasise yet again, the US is by law, fulfilling its obligations to its citizens. Their advisory is not an attack on The Bahamas. It is their duty to their citizens. It is our responsibility to respond appropriately. We do not need to reprint verbatim the advisory. The State Department does not publish advisories, other than on their website, but we seem to leap at the opportunity to announce it to the world. Then, it is picked up by foreign media and then they go so far as to publish it with a picture of Atlantis or the Cruise Port. Once one network affiliate picks it up, it goes viral.

As citizens, does it make an iota of sense for us to publish the US travel advisories on social media? How many of the 300 million US citizens are posting travel advisories on the US by other countries? Have you ever seen a travel advisory about the United States with the Magic Kingdom or JFK Airport as the file photo?

What we should be doing is promoting how visitors related crime is so low, especially given the seven million visitors coming to these shores. Frankly, it is exemplary.

Our headlines need to reflect that The Bahamas is extremely safe for visitors and that we have some serious social issues which make it unsafe for some Bahamians as it relates to death by gun violence. It is our duty to our citizens and the health of our economy to publish that narrative far and wide.

Have you ever seen any headlines on how many tourists are murdered in Las Vegas every year? Google it.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 2 months, 3 weeks ago

When I hear about gang violence in Haiti, I always hear crimes against Haitian citizens and ransom requests for white foreigners. I never sift through those reports of violence to say, well I've never heard of a black Bahamian being targeted so I should be ok. People dont think like that. They assess the safety of the "environment". Because bullets dont have guidance systems.

I saw tourists driving along Wulff Road yesterday headed in the direction of East St. I see them through Kemp Road, Palmdale and Prince Charles frequently. It only takes 1 for the "no tourists harmed" to fall away as a nonsense argument. With the same logic you could say, noone from South Beach was hurt. We tried that remember? The former commissioner told us the public didnt have to be afraid because only people known to police were getting shot.

The environment is unstable. We need to stop spinning that fact and get serious about corruption and crime and ensure that the people we promote to keep law and order aren't there just to dress up, profile and smile for pics. My assessment? In 7 years they did nothing to stop blatant traffic violations, just allowed it to gradually get out of control. And if they didnt stop that... This is the result, lawlessness. We just upset the world point it out.

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concernedcitizen 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The writer says Zero tourist were killed in 2024. This is true ,however on the family Island I live at least five ARBNBS were broken into and at least one incident the visitors were held at gunpoint last year . I say at least five ARBNBS were broken into there were probably more .In a few of the instances I know the foreign ARBNB owners comped the guest so they would not write a bad review or go to the police .

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B_I_D___ 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Spoke too soon...tourists raped...

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rosiepi 2 months, 3 weeks ago

This is the stupidest excuse for the ever rising rate of violent crime and homicides in the Bahamas which despite the mass murders in the US is still higher.

As for tourists getting murdered in Las Vegas, it was 12% years ago and given their rising crime rate it’s likely higher, and that figure doesn’t include robberies, rapes and the survivors of these terrible crimes.

As for the Bahamas the rate for crimes against tourists run from robberies, rapes and sexual assaults is hardly ever publicized by the authorities and unless victims post the crime on social media we’re none the wiser. As the previous posters suggested, one doesn’t have to hear specifically that tourists were killed for the reports of generalized violent crime to give one pause about visiting. The number of times I’ve heard cruisers on Cabbage Beach say that most of their party stayed onboard because of the reputed crime rate…

Put an end to the corruption, good governance is supposed to work for Bahamians not the other way round.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 2 weeks ago

People like Ed Fields who have their heads so far up in the politicians' asses will look for any excuse to try and gloss over the fact that Nassau is a violent, congested, chaotic, corrupt, and dirty place ........... Facts

Is there any wonder why only cruise tourists are coming to Nassau .......... and stopover numbers are not increasing (for at least 20 years) OR staying in the all-inclusive fortresses of Atlantis & Bahamar???????

Ever wonder why The Bahamas only has 11,000 hotel rooms while DR & Jamaica have 30/40K?????? There are NO demand for any more rooms by stopovers.

Only the Out Islands and cays (that the Government has neglected) has any real attraction, satisfaction, and peace for stopover tourists to visit. And that is mostly AirBnb market now.

The MOT brain thrust need a serious reset ............ Living in a bubble.

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